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Lawsuits Allege Abuse In Mormon Foster Program

New lawsuits allege the Mormon church did not do enough to protect children from sexual abuse in a now-defunct, church-run foster program. The Native American women behind the lawsuits participated in the Indian Placement Program.

The lawsuits were filed earlier this month on behalf of two Navajo women in tribal court and in Washington state on behalf of a Crow woman.

These are among a string of lawsuits in recent years that seek monetary damages, apologies and a guarantee that church leaders will report suspected abuse.

A spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not immediately return a message. The church has said it works to prevent abuse.

An estimated 40,000 Native American children participated in the Indian Placement Program from the late 1940s until it ended around 2000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.